High-Impact Educational Practices

In our college, you’ll learn by doing.

Game-Changing Activities

Research shows that certain teaching and learning practices are extremely beneficial to college students from all kinds of backgrounds. You get more engaged, you have a better experience, you learn more. Your grades are higher. And you’re more likely to graduate on time. All good things!

According to the Association of American Colleges and Universities, high impact educational practices take many forms. Most can be summed up here:

  • Freshman Experience
  • Learning Communities
  • Undergraduate Research
  • Study Abroad
  • Internships and Field Placements
  • Common Intellectual Experiences
  • Collaborative Assignments and Projects
  • Diversity/Global Learning
  • Service and Community-based Learning

As a student in our college, you’ll find all these experiences that will have a high impact on your student career, and on your life.

First Year Experience

HSS 120

Opening Doors and Minds

Introduction to Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS 120) offers an orientation to the culture, resources, research methods and interdisciplinary nature of our unique college.

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We want our newest students to jump in with both feet. And we want to introduce you to the intellectual breadth and depth of the college. HSS 120 is our unique Freshman Experience class. Each year, we focus on a theme that represents a major challenge for our society: in 2016, we’re investigating Beliefs and Ideologies; in 2015, we explored Wealth, Poverty, and Work; and in 2014, Violence in all its forms.

You’ll hear from faculty experts from across Humanities and Social Sciences about work they’re conducting around our theme.

In the process, you’ll improve skills that will help you succeed in college: critical thinking, writing, collaboration and information literacy.

Undergraduate Research

We support student-faculty teams and pairs so you can work on research projects together. Our college’s Undergraduate Research Awards provide funding to students as you learn the skills you need to become more of an independent researcher. You’ll also gain transferable skills and build long-lasting professional relationships with faculty members.


Nothing beats hands-on experience to give you a taste of what work in a specific area is really like.

Departments across the college provide internship opportunities for undergraduates. Find out if you’re suited for a particular field or career as you learn on the job. You’ll gain helpful experience, receive mentoring from your employer and get support and feedback from your faculty liaison. Internships typically culminate in a final project or paper and some form of reflective practice.

Diversity, Global Learning, Study Abroad

We value and celebrate diversity. We welcome all backgrounds, including ethnicity, culture, race, gender, class, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, physical ability, learning styles and political perspectives. 

We’re committed to enhancing a climate within our college that attracts, recruits and retains a varied student and faculty base. We promote connections between groups, across cultures and within all the communities we serve. We champion diversity through scholarship, community and stewardship. We want all our students to see themselves here and to find a home where you can flourish and make a difference.

We’re preparing the next generation of world-changers to not only Think and Do, but to face the challenges of a national and global workforce. In our college, you’ll have myriad opportunities to explore cultures, life experiences and worldviews different from your own.

Community-Based Learning

You’ll have multiple opportunities to engage with the community and to make a difference. Whether through service-learning or community-based projects, on alternative Spring Break trips or through courses that take you outside the classroom – and perhaps outside your comfort level – you will stretch and grow.

You’re guaranteed some eye-opening and life-changing experiences. And through it all, you’ll make important connections and hone skills that will last a lifetime.